Immigration: limited or unlimited?
On the subject of immigration, one student at J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia commented, we make America more interesting (Swerdlow 61). As true as these words are, the question of how much more interest should be allowed to cross our borders each year, and what exactly defines an American these days puzzle the already 281 million residents who find comfort in the freedoms of America. America is a land of immigrants, also referred to as the melting pot of the world. However, the possibility that Americas kettle is over-flowing concerns its citizens and some politicians.
Ideas for capping immigration have been voiced in the past, but have not been heard. While some will argue legal immigration should have no restrictions, most Americans will agree illegal immigration is indeed a problem. With some 6 million people living in America illegally, and only 46, 750 deportations last year, a solution must take hold soon (Zarembo 26). President George W. Bush has been working on a plan to reform immigration that could make millions of undocumented workers legal. Bush may only open the application for legal residency to Mexicans, but nothing will be final for at least another year. As a result of negotiations, mayhem has broken out on Capitol Hill, with politicians pulling fiercely on both sides. Some believe this will trigger more illegal immigrants to migrate to America, and in turn cost the already tax-paying citizens more money. On the other side, politicians believe it is about principle; accepting all people who are here, legal or illegal (Zarembo 25). The fact still remains— Americas population is growing rapidly each day, whether or not there is room, schools, or work for more immigrants.
Immigrants who have lived in America, legally, for years have views separate from politicians whom many have lived here all their lives. The incentive for many immigrants to flock to America is for the opportunities it will offer their children. They come looking for their own piece of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, freedom, and to escape from lives of poverty and war. In the 2000 census, ten percent of Americans were born in other countries and in 1990, 32 million US residents spoke a language other than English at home, a number that has undoubtedly risen in the past 11 years (Swerdlow 46-47).
Although America has become the land of immigrants, tolerance is not always upheld in the school scene, where teenage students are more concerned about gossip and the latest styles of hair and clothes to recognize the greater need for an open-minded society. Many immigrant students come to America and assimilate very nicely to the ways of life, mainly because they have learned to speak English. About one fifth of high school immigrant students are not even literate in their native language, making the task of learning English much harder (Swerdlow 50). Immigrant students who struggle with English often drop out because they have become discouraged or need to work in order to help support their families (Swerdlow 51). They work for eight dollars and hour or less, taking the jobs that no one actually wants; restaurant work and house keeping for example (Swerdlow 60).
A possible solution in terms of immigration is not to open our arms to illegal immigrants, but to embrace those looking for a happy future. If America cracks down on the number of illegal immigrants, there will be more space for those who come with the purpose of making America a better mixture of cultures. The incentive for immigrants to come here illegally is the possibility they can work in America without paying taxes. There is no way around paying taxes as a legal resident of the United States, however a one year tax break could be offered to those coming here from poverty in order to get their bearings. With a tax break like that, more people who are tempted to come to America illegally might just change their mind. However, the borders to Mexico need to be tightened in order to keep illegal immigrants out, whether or not a tax break is given to immigrants. The problem of who should get this tax break might cause a stir in communities all across America. Legal citizens will claim they did not get a tax break when coming to the land of freedom, and still made it on their own. As for American citizens, the complaint of paying for the immigrants children to attend public schools, may cause even more of a controversy. Nonetheless, to open our already weighted arms to illegal immigrants is an idea the tax-paying citizens can do without. Allowing them to come to America without paying any taxes yet reaping the benefits is costing Americans more money than they bargained for. Accepting people from all walks of life is Americas job, but paying for other peoples mistakes is not.
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